Super-sizing the Bird List

img_0708How many species of birds are there in the world? It has generally been considered that there are between 9,000-10,000. This new study upends that, suggesting that the number should be double the earlier estimate. (Here’s the actual paper.)

Well, wow! We have defined species as animals that can breed together. But if you pay any attention to birds, there are some anomalies here. Ducks, for instance, are notorious for breeding across species lines. So maybe the species line needs some re-defition, away from the “biological species concept” towards a “phylogenetic species concept.” That’s what they do in this study, defining species according to genetic and evolutionary relationships. (Here’s some more explanation.)

Tremendous food for thought.

And for dessert: One of my long-time complaints about the Democrats is that they don’t fight. Republicans fight like cornered rats; they have to because they’re a minority-appeal party and so must cheat, lie, steal, etc. to maintain power. Democrats just kiss up to their corporate funders. Enough!

6 Responses to “Super-sizing the Bird List”


  1. 1 Shannon December 26, 2016 at 8:43 am

    Did you see the SNL piece with Clinton imploring an elector in ‘Love Actually’ fashion yet? It will support your conclusion that Dems have been too quiet (I think it’s shock). The fear/anger rhetoric from the vocal right (and even some on the left) overpowers anything logical or negotiable from the rational middle. We are simply outnumbered and out-yelled.

    • 2 mthew December 26, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      When 3/4ths of Americans either didn’t vote or didn’t vote for the Orange One, we can hardly be said to be out-numbered. Yet the uniting of all of us remains damn elusive.

  2. 3 Jeff December 26, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I agree. – the democrats should be classified as invertebrates… spineless wonders but do we need them now. Keep up the good work.

  3. 5 Beverly Seaton December 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Oh, you are so right about the Democrats–please note, I no longer say “we or us” before “Democrats.” Not since this last election.


  1. 1 American Hazelnut, Sweet Yellow Buckeye | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on February 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

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